Newmarket Cricket Club's hectic year since reformation lays foundation for a brighter future
To say things were uncertain at Newmarket Cricket Club this time 12 months ago would be an understatement.
It was very much a phoenix club, risen from the ashes of what had been disbanded back in 2017.
They had just four players signed on and a number of other roadblocks to negotiate before they could even consider the prospect of getting out on the pitch. And that is without mentioning all of the restrictions thrown up by a worldwide pandemic.
However, not only did they manage to field one team come the season’s start date in April – they put out three. It was capped by the Saturday first team, who embarked on a roller-coaster campaign that eventually saw them promoted up to Division One of the Cambs & Hunts Whiting & Partners League.
Captain Mark Nunn reflected: “It was massively hectic. So much planning and admin went into it before we could even consider playing matches.
“It was a ghost club really. Nobody had seen us play and so it was even harder to attract non-playing members and that meant a lot of the work was done by just three or four people at times.
“It was tough, especially with Covid, but to get teams out on a Saturday, Sunday and in midweek is an incredible effort by everyone.
“It was topped off by the promotion, which helped to make the work worthwhile, and hopefully we had a big impact on the local community as well.”
Attention now turns to 2022, with Newmarket keen to further establish themselves – both within the local cricketing scene and the town.
Asked where the club would like to be this time next year, Nunn responded: “It’s about establishing the club more and hopefully bringing in a lot more members – maybe doubling it.
“We’re going to have a second team on Saturdays and that is a big thing.
“It will help to push the first team on, but it will also allow us to provide more playing opportunities for people that way to join up.
“We want to be competitive and I think the first team should be looking to finish in mid-table – we don’t want to be struggling.
“But we also want people to have fun at the club. We want to help keep people fit, healthy and get them out playing sport.
“We feel like The Severals has been revolutionised since we started playing there as well, which in itself is an achievement. Hopefully we can keep that going as well.”
Nunn was also keen to point out the support the club has received from sponsors to help fund the 2021 season.
He added: “If we had no income, it would have been impossible. We don’t have a bar, we can’t put up advertising at the ground or charge people to watch.
“So you understand if sponsors wonder what they’re getting from it, but people have been very generous and we are very grateful – it’s an expensive sport.”
Chairman Frank Stennett, who spearheaded the consortium that relaunched the club, echoed those sentiments: “Landmark Scaffolding, Charlie Fellowes Racing, Fletcher Thompson Accountants, Moons Dental, Lemontree, P & B Flooring, Physiowork – these individuals and sponsors have helped shape what Newmarket Cricket Club is today and we can’t thank them enough for their ongoing support and generosity.
“We’ve also had a lot of other support – Will Jarvis (head of the trainers’ association) has been very supportive and organised the Racing XI game, which helped raise vital funds the club.
“Rob Achner and the Jockey Club Estates helped to improve the ground and Nick Patton (Jockey Club’s MD) has always been supportive, as has councillor Andrew Appleby, mayor Mick Jefferies and the two councils.
“Their help is very much appreciated and we hope to keep working with them.”